Argentina lost 1-0 to Italy on Monday in their first match of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, despite ardent support from the Argentine fanbase. Over 30,000 spectators watched the match at Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand.
La Albiceleste, who are in group G, have never won a match in the women’s football World Cup — a trend they hope to buck in New Zealand.
The first half was scoreless, although there were numerous opportunities for both teams, including multiple shots on goal, and two goals ruled offside for Italy.
Although both teams were more cautious in the second half, with fewer shots on goal, Argentine goalkeeper Vanina Correa still had to block a few attempts. Italy also attempted to use set pieces to score, receiving several free kicks in the second half.
Eventually they struck at the hands of veteran forward Cristiania Girelli, who was substituted in for so-called “Little Messi”, Giulia Dragoni. Four minutes after entering the game, Italy’s captain scored with a header making it past Correa.
Argentina tried to retaliate, with midfielder Florencia Bonsegundo’s shot on goal nearly tying the game, but it was blocked by Italian goalkeeper Francesca Durante.
With multiple rounds of the wave and their legendary drum playing, the Argentine fans made their presence felt, attempting to spark a rally for their squad.
Alongside the fans, the match was also punctuated by the appearances of a few stars. In attendance were soccer mainstays such as FIFA president Gianni Infantino and Argentine Football Association president Claudio “Chiqui” Tapia. Actress and owner of American women’s football club Angel City FC Natalie Portman was also at the game.
Italy will move on to their next match with all three points from the game secured. This keeps them on top of Group G alongside Sweden, who beat South Africa 2-1.
Argentina’s next match will be against South Africa on Thursday, where they will try to secure their first ever World Cup victory. To reach the next round, they must be among the top two teams in their group, meaning they must overtake either Sweden or Italy in points. Like group-mates South Africa, they currently have zero.
–with information from Télam